The civil rights leader and founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN) gave the keynote speech on Juneteeth, June 19, in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a commemoration of the anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States. Sharpton was joined by the family of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot in 2016 by police officer Betty Jo Shelby as he was standing next to his vehicle. A jury later acquitted Shelby, who now works as a deputy sheriff in a neighboring Rogers County, which is in direct opposition to Trump’s new police reform executive order.
Sharpton demanded that President Trump, who is holding a rally in Tulsa the next day on Saturday, June 20, trade in his usual divisive talking points for words of unity and awakening.
“When was America great for everybody? You can’t be great when you can shoot people down like you did Terrence Crutcher,” said Sharpton who continued on by reminding the crowd of the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshad Brooks.
A collective group of community-based organizations united together to host Tulsa’s annual, Juneteenth celebration in the heart of the Historic Greenwood District, Home of America’s Black Wall Street, on Friday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
As Tulsa approaches the 100 year anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, this year’s Juneteenth Celebration, now more than ever, represents a spirit of resilience and perseverance as the community presses forward in solidarity during these challenging times.